5-speed listening (Level 3)

Britain says yes to 3-parent babies



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Lawmakers in the U.K. have voted to allow doctors to create babies from the DNA of three different people. It will be the first country in the world to do this. There was a vote in Britain's parliament, where 382 lawmakers voted for allowing three-person babies and 128 voted against the idea. The idea behind three-person babies is to stop diseases being passed from a mother to her newborn baby. Doctors say that as many as 150 babies a year could be born using the new technique. The first baby to be born using the DNA from three people could be as early as next year. The technique will help families with mitochondrial diseases. These are incurable and affect about one in 6,500 children worldwide.

The technique is quite simple. It combines the DNA of the two parents with the DNA of another woman. Doctors replace the unhealthy, disease-carrying DNA in the mother's egg with healthy DNA from the donor. The result is that the baby receives about 0.1 per cent of its DNA from the donor woman. Lawmakers said the technique was "light at the end of a dark tunnel" for many families. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We're not playing God here. We're just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one." Critics say the technique could be dangerous. They say it would open the door to the genetic modification of children and "designer babies" in the future.

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